City opens warming shelters as temperatures dip below freezing

Downtown Vancouver shelter runs out of space, forced to turn away at least 25 seeking warmth

Freezing temperatures have prompted the City of Vancouver to open temporary warming shelters as refuge for people living on the streets.

Three Vancouver community centres open tonight and will remain open until Feb. 20. They include:

- Britannia Community Centre at 1739 Venables St. 

- Carnegie Community Centre at 401 Main St.

- West End Community Centre at 870 Denman St. 

The warming shelter at Britannia will open at 9 p.m., Carnegie opens at 11:15 p.m., and the shelter in the West End opens at 11 p.m.

According to Environment Canada, the temperature will go down to — 5 C in Vancouver Sunday night and the mercury is expected to remain that low at night until at least Tuesday, Feb. 20.

Warming centres open as a life-saving response when temperatures drop below  — 5 C.

All three centres welcome both men and women, as well as pets, bikes and carts. Hot beverages and snacks are available and no reservations are required.

The city also opened 300 temporary shelter beds in Vancouver this year due to winter weather.

Anyone looking for shelter space can call 211 to check availability.